The highlight of my Thursday was a late-afternoon visit with Charles Rosa, now 91 and lightening the load a little by adding a few items to the Lucas County Historical Society collection. Several were related to Otterbein Church --- all of the Rosas, including Charles's grandfather, Adam, and Adam's uncle (my great-great-grandfather) John G. Redlingshafer, were founding members of that United Brethren in Christ congregation. The Otterbein Church building, moved from its original home in Benton Township, has been located on the museum campus since 1976.
One of my favorite items is this photograph, taken during the fall of 1931 on the front porch of what we call the Stephens House, purchased by the historical society as its original home in 1965 and still the heart of the museum campus. By 1931, this was the home of John Wesley and Margaret (Vanderbur) Carpenter, who bought the house in 1925 and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary here on Sunday, Oct. 11, 1931. The group photograph was taken by Bates Studio to commemorate the occasion.
That's Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter seated in front, flanked by their sons, Samuel and Virgil. The two small children at far left are a somewhat younger version of Charles Rosa and his sister, Margaret. My great-grandmother, Mary Belle (Redlingshafer) Myers, is standing just behind the Carpenters (with her round glasses in place) and elsewhere in the crowd are most of the extended Rosa family and my grandparents, Irwin and Ethel (Dent) Myers.
No identifications are written on the photograph, so we're not sure who everyone is --- but a list of guests was published in the following account of the celebration, published in The Herald Patriot of Oct. 15, 1931, so I'm guessing that everyone in the photograph is somewhere in that list:
Hundreds Gather at Carpenter Home for Wedding Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Carpenter are Feted on Golden Wedding Anniversary on Sunday
More than 100 friends of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Carpenter of Chariton, who Sunday observed their fiftieth wedding anniversary, crowded into the Carpenter home in west Chariton Sunday afternoon and joined in the anniversary celebration.
Included in the list of guess were people who attended just as joyous a party fifty years ago at the time of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter.
Miss Theo Witt directed the unusual program that was presented during the afternoon. The program was as follows: Music, Ila Savely; Scripture reading, John Rosa; Prayer, John Ream; Talks, J.H. Jamison, Des Moines; John Rosa and J.P. Ream; Readings, Thelma DeWitt, Wilma McBride; Music, the Dillman Sisters.
The following people were present at the party:
Mr. and Mrs. Chas Hass, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Beardsley, Alice A. Pulley, Mr. and Mrs. Irwin Myers, Ila Louise Savely, Alma Morris, Wilma McBride, Pauline, Maxine and Lucille Dillman, Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Brewer and daughter, Eloise, Margaret E. Watson, Mrs. Katharine Mahalic and son, Jack, Clara Watson, Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Dillman, Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Willits, Dr. and Mrs. A.L. Yocom Jr., Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Anderson, Mrs. James Rose, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. F. Carpenter, Hazel Griffis, Judith Johnson, Mildred Brown, Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Sellers, Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Hamm, Lavey Hamm, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Callahan, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Jamison, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Curtis, Mr. and Mrs. V.M. Carpenter and son John Rice, Dr. and Mrs. Sam Carpenter, Mrs. Dale Anderson, Mrs. D. Earl Combs, Mr. and Mrs. F.F. Bell, Wm. Bell, Mrs. Lon E. Hobert, Mr. and Mrs. I.T.Graves, Mr. and Mrs. Willis Graves and son, Richard, Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Sellers, Mr. and Mrs. C.N. Bell, Chester E. Rosa, J.S. Rosa, A.G. Rosa, Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. Rosa and children, Margaret Jane and Charles Myron, Mrs. Adda Griffis, Mrs. Helma Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Shore, Zoe Kurtz, Mrs. R.A. McKee, Mrs. Daniel Myers, Gust L. Johnson, T.B. Vanderbur, George Scott, J.H. Robbins.
The Chariton Leader of October 13 published a front-page account of the celebration that included more of the background of the Carpenters:
Early Pioneers of Lucas County Enjoy Golden Wedding Anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Carpenter Have Spent Entire Wedded Life in County
Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Carpenter observed their fiftieth wedding anniversary at their home this week and Sunday held open house at their home at the west end of Braden avenue.
Hundreds of friends of the family thronged into the home all day Sunday and congratulated the Carpenters upon their anniversary. An interesting program of readings and singings was presented during the day.
The most outstanding part of the fifty years of wedded life in the Carpenter family is that both Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter have spent their entire lives in Chariton and Lucas county.
J.W. Carpenter and Miss Margaret E. Vanderbur came of pioneer families, stock that settled this county long before the railroads came into this section of the state. Both Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter can vividly remember the hardships of pioneer life in this community, Mrs. Carpenter's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Vanderbur, owning one of the first log cabins in the county.
When Mr. Carpenter was twenty-one years of age, quite a man in those early days when a youth early assumed the responsibilities now postponed until later, he married Miss Margaret E. Vanderbur at the home of her parents in Benton township.
Rev. Kelsey, then a United Brethren minister on a circuit between the Newbern and Garten churches (Otterbein was known as the Garten Class at the time because it met in Garten School), officiated at the marriage ceremonies. The newly married couple were first honored at a reception in the Vanderbur home and then the Carpenter home was the scene of a second party.
The Chariton Patriot of 1881 carried an account of the wedding with a list of the wedding presents received. Mrs. Carpenter has carefully preserved the clipping all these years.
The new family moved to a home two miles from Mr. Carpenter's home, where they lived and worked and raised a family of three boys. As the boys neared high school age, the Carpenters moved to Chariton and maintained a residence so that their boys might receive the finest of educations.
In October, 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter left the farm, this time to move to Chariton where they have since made their home. They moved to the Andy Stevens home, one of the finest in the city, in west Chariton. Mrs. Carpenter explained the purchase of the place, saying, "We had to have some ground to work or else we would have become rather homesick." the Stevens place has five acres in connection.
Miss Thelma DeWitt, who has lived with her foster parents since she first entered school, is now a school teacher in the county but she had not been too busy to lay careful plans for the success of the anniversary celebration. She participated in the program at the Carpenter home Sunday.
Both Samuel Carpenter and Virgil Carpenter, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter, are highly successful businessmen. their fortune is assured, thanks to the wonderful training they have received at the home of their parents.
Mrs. Helen Carpenter and daughter, Mary Jean, were unable to attend the celebration.
Mr. Carpenter doesn't take any credit for the success of his boys, but he is certainly entitled to a great share of the glory they have won. Mr. Carpenter has never smoked, drank or swore. Card playing and dancing have been forbidden in the Carpenter home.
Of himself, Mr. Carpenter laughingly added that he has never served on a jury and has only participated as a witness at court on two occasions. Although it has been frequently necessary for him to file record of his many land purchases he has never gone into court with any legal dispute.
It is in this home atmosphere that Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Carpenter have raised their children, watched them through the difficulties of their "teen" age education and then saw them through college. This home atmosphere is a reflection of the sturdy training that Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter received in turn in their homes many years ago. There is no cause for wonder that Lucas county has prospered, founded upon such wonderful stock as the Carpenter and Vanderbur families.
J.W. and Margaret Carpenter actually had three sons. The third, Charles W., had died of typhoid at age 28 on Sept. 28, 1928, survived by his widow, Helen, and daughter, Mary Jean, mentioned in one of the write-ups as unable to attend the anniversary celebration. Charles died at the Stephens-Carpenter House and his funeral was held there.
John Wesley Carpenter died at age 76 on July 1, 1937, at Stephens House; Margaret (Vanderbur) Carpenter died Oct. 19, 1948, at the age of 85, at Yocom Hospital. Both are buried in the Chariton Cemetery.